4. Design your circuit for your target market
“If we have a client who comes to us saying they want an F1 track, firstly we ask why. Often the developers aren’t aware that there are other levels of motorsport that sit beneath F1. We help them to cut their cloth, not to save money but often to help them make more.
“The constraints we work within are defined by the FIA but, depending on who your client is, you can be more or less aggressive. If you design a grade-three circuit, you’re effectively designing it for a Formula 3 car. The definition of the crests and dips are defined by the square of the speed divided by a constant. So a grade-three circuit is always going to be more exciting to drive, say, in a Porsche 911 than you would find at a grade-two circuit, which is designed for a Formula 2 car, or a grade-one circuit, which is designed for F1. If you are designing an F1 race track, it’s difficult to make it feel exciting for mere mortals, because you’re driving on a circuit that has been optimised for a car that can do things that no other car can.”
5. Asphalt run-off is safest, but there’s still a place for gravel traps too
“It’s the law of unintended consequences. When we built Dubai Autodrome in 2004, it was the very first circuit that applied the theory the FIA wanted to show of having only asphalt for run-off. It has proven to be extremely safe, not only for cars but bikes also. But it was never really anticipated how track limits abuse was going to become such a hot topic and such a part of motor-racing culture. Back then, the discipline drivers had was engendered from years of driving on tracks where if you got off the white line, you were either on dirt, grass or gravel. But we’ve now got a whole generation of drivers who have grown up with massively expanded run-off areas.